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Wal-Mart Beats Wall Street Expectations

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Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Thursday that same-store sales rose 2.1% in January as consumers continued to hunt for bargains and purchased necessities such as groceries.

Same-store, rose 2.1% at the company's U.S. namesake stores and 2.4% at its Sam's Club warehouses during the four weeks ended Jan. 30. Including fuel, same-store sales rose 1.5%.

The results edged past Wal-Mart's own forecast for sales that would be flat to up 2%, as well as analyst expectations for a 1.1% rise.

The retailer said total sales edged up nearly 2% to $27.74 billion from $27.26 billion last year.

The chain said sales were driven by higher customer traffic. At Wal-Mart Stores, groceries and health products sold better than other products. At Sam's Club, food was the biggest seller, and baby care and pet items were also strong.

International sales fell 7% to $6.65 billion, hurt by the stronger dollar.

In related news, Wal-Mart said that it will stop providing a monthly forecast of same-store sales and estimate same-store sales on a quarterly basis instead. It will continue to report monthly same-store sales, however.